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gether hold your peace; deliverance shall come from some other quarter, but you and your father's house shall be destroyed."
We exhort parents to do their duty with respect to their children and households. In all things set a good example before those under your care. Do not, by your evil example bring swift destruction on your children and on the rising generation. Arise and show who is on the Lord's side.Consecrate yourselves to the Lord, that he may bestow a blessing on you this day.
Let this effectionate, this parental address be extended to the rising generation. See, beloved youth, how, by intemperance and other vicious practices, the dignity of your nature is degraded; the noble faculties of your soul perverted; the health of the body ruined; the most beautiful countenance distorted or emaciated, and the wretched devotee to vice is sinking prematurely into the grave! He lives undesired; he dies unlamented!
O, young man, we exhort you to flee these evils. Will you not give heed to this warning before you shall have contracted habits of iniquity which shall bind you fast as with a chain of iron, or fetters of brass? O! listen to this warning; keep the sabbath day holy: reverence the name of God, and his sanctuary. Let wisdom's ways be unto you ways of pleasantness; then discretion shall preserve thee, and understanding shall keep thee to preserve thee from the way of the wicked man. Bind these commandments upon thine heart, and they shall be a chain of gold about thy neck. When thou goest they shall lead thee, and when thou sleepest they shall keep thee.
September 18, 1813.
HEZ. N. WOODRUFF,
The synod of GENEVA, at their meeting on the second Wednesday in October last, being informed of the doings of the Presbytery of Cayuga, appointed the Rev. Messrs. Oliver Ayre, and Darius O. Griswold, of the Presbytery of Geneva, and Jabez Chadwick and Elnathan Walker of the Presbytery of Onondaga, in addition to the committee of the Presbytery of Cayuga, to be a committee to extend the above objects throughout the bounds of the Synod.
HEZ. N. WOODRUFF, Moderator. The above Resolutions and Constitution for the formation of Moral Societies, together with the foregoing Address, are hereby recommended and addressed, by the committee, to
all the Churches throughout the bounds of the Synod; recommending to all the towns, to form such societies, wherein, in the opinion of influential men it shall be expedient, and that the address be read in all the congregations agreeably to the 7th resolution.
TO THE PUBLISHER OF THE UTICA CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.
The following manuscripts which I have had in my possession more than twelve years, and which were probably written some time before, I send you for your Magazine-your advisers may think them fit to be inserted. Yours, Z. Y.
ON THE CONNEXION BETWEEN CONVICTION AND REGENE
WHETHER there be any stage, in the progress of the sinner's conviction, at which divine, saving, regenerating influence is infallibly communicated? This is an enquiry of interesting consequence, and may well employ a few moments discussion. The passages of holy writ, which coincide with an affirmative answer to this question, it is apprehended are the two following, among others, Rom. vii. 9. For I was alive once without the law: but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." Gal. ii. 19. “For I through the law, am dead unto the law, that I might live unto God." These two passages of Scripture may be thus paraphrased. When I had no conviction of the purity, spirituality, and extent of the divine law, I felt sufficient for my own felicity, and imagined I might be admitted to glory, upon the footing of my own merit, or personal virtues. But when through the convictive operations of the Spirit, I saw with my reason and conscience, the perfection and unlimited extent of the law of God, I perceived the amazing and essential deficiency of my supposed excellence of character, and gave up all hope of ever being accepted with the Deity on this plan. Such was my sense of sin, that I died, I yielded, and saw eternal death would be my lot, unless divine unmerited pity appeared in my behalf."-The other text, according to my sense of it, speaks to this purpose. "The holy law of God, perfect and pure, has proved death unto me. It has been the instrument under the benign influences of grace, of slaying me, and taking from me all hope from myself; that I may have the principle of spiritual life implanted in my soul. This law-death, effected by the law, antecedes regeneration, is necessary in order that I might be alive unto God. -We can never be alive unto God till we have been the
subjects of a law-death. This law-death, is not regeneration, because regeneration is being alive unto God. To be made alive unto God, is to be regenerated, or to receive a princple of spiritual life. This law-death, then, must mean something that takes place in the soul, before regeneration, which is no more nor less, than the sinner's yielding, or giving up all hope from every created dependance. When I use the word yielding, I do not mean the acquiescence or approbation of the heart; but despair of help from the creature, which I suppose to be that point or stage in the progress of the sinner's conviction, at which divine, renovating influence is invariably communicated. This point, or state of the soul, the old Divines, who have written on experimental religion, have distinguished, by the names of submission, legal repentance, legal humiliation. Messrs. Flavel, Boston, Erskine, Bates, Wishart, and all the Scotch orthodox preachers, have believed that there is such a stage in a preparatory work. The opinions of good men, famous for their experimental piety and learning, I respect, but do not consider as any proof of my tenet. Whether Messrs. Edwards, Hopkins and Bellamy, consider the matter in this light, I will not affirm, but am inclined from their writings, to believe they do. Many of our best preachers, in this day, embrace the same sentiment. The convictions of different persons, are very various; some of a longer; some of a shorter duration. Some more distressing; and others more gentle. Some full of misery, anguish, terror and horror, and blasphemous thoughts, direct risings of enmity against God, his law, his being, his attributes, especially justice, holiness and absolute sovereignty. Some have more shame, grief and regret, for abuses of a good, a kind, a merciful Benefactor and compassionate Savior. There is a diversity of operations, but the same spirit. And under none of those different species of conviction, does the heart grow better, or less opposed to holiness. Nor, when it comes to the last stage, where saving mercy is conferred, is its enmity abated, though it ceases, as it were, its struggles. I would not suppose, every sinner, who is called out of a state of nature, by sovereign grace, goes through just such a set of ideas, thoughts and impressions; or, the same series of views and exercises, before he is reduced to a state of despair of help from creatures.But far otherwise. One may have such strong, lively, overwhelming convictions, that a few days, or even minutes, may bring him to this prepared state. Another's impressions may be so gradual, gentle, and mild, that many months, or even years may pass, before he is made to yield. Neither do I
suppose, that God has ever promised, in any part of his word to meet the sinner, at this prepared situation, with his sanctifying agency. It is one thing for God to promise, and another to act, in the course of his providence. I conceive it incompatible with the dignity and grandeur of the divine attributes and law, to make any promise to any thing short of holiness. My reasons from scripture have been assigned, in the two texts above cited and explained. I have further to add, that we must suppose one state of the mind, fitter for the reception of spiritual life than another. This is easy, and rational, and natural, for us to conceive of. Conviction is to prepare the mind for the reception of a regenerate principle, and hence, hath been very properly called by divines," a preparatory work.” If we look through the whole course of nature, we shall see a previous preparatory process, necessary for any state or condition. The fallowground must be broken up, before the seed be strewed upon it. The children of Israel were fitted, by a long course of wilderness travels and hardships, for the possession of the promised land. The good man is prepared, by the trials and troubles of the present world, for celestial happiness. In like manner, the careless, hardened, ignorant sinner, is prepared by religious impressions, or conviction of sin, for the admission of saving light or a change of heart. It appears to us, that it would be unfit and unsuitable to bring such an one, immediately, without any previous preparation, into a state of grace. We can see that the ignorance and stupidity of a careless state, are unfit for such a condition as regeneration puts the mind into. By a miracle, or extraordinary influence, a vile sinner running in a mad career into every wickedness, may be immediately called into a state of grace, as St. Paul was by a vision and a voice from heaven-or, as the eminently pious Col. Gardner was. This last is not mentioned as an instance of a miraculous conversion, but only a very rare and unusual one. Now, such a condition, as that I mentioned, (viz.) a despair of help from every created quarter, seems a very fit, prepared and congruous situation for the sinner to be in, in order for receiving the principle of spiritual life. I would illustrate my idea, of this situation of the sinner, in which he may be said, in a proper sense, to be fitted for renovating grace, by a plain similitude. A furious wild bull is caught in a net; he exerts every power to escape and regain his native liberty. He throws himself on one side of his prison, violently, and then on the other. He roars and foams, and would spread destruction on all around He struggles, he tries every way, and every art, to liberate
himself. He struggles again and again. He sees he cannot escape. He reluctantly yields. He ceases his struggles. He submits. This is but a faint picture of a sinner under conviction. I hope the important subject is not debased by the parable. Now, when the awakened, convinced sinner, having tried every method of escape, and is shut up to the faith, he yields, he submits; he despairs of relief from any thing he has done, or can do, and finds he must bow to a sovreign God; he is then brought to a state, suited and fitted for the communication of a principle of love to God. And whenever God, by convictive influences, brings a sinner to this state," to his feet," he never forsakes him, but ever, without failure, meets him, and communicates a holy and benevolent temper. My reasons for this opinion 1 have briefly given, they might be much enlarged upon. But the present time will not permit. I have attempted only a short discussion. I could easily subjoin other scriptures, which I think, favor my idea. The congruity and propriety of such a state of the mind, for divine energetic grace, The preparation, observable through nature, for any state or condition,-Divine Providence and grace acting, in a sense, harmoniously, plead in favor of what has been urged as my sentiment. I am however not strenuous to hold it. I cannot see how it is either derogatory to the divine character or grace, or inconsistent with any of the principles of religion, embraced by the most rigid Calvinist. I should rejoice to see light offered, and would stand open to its kindly and sweetly influencing rays. My opinion, seems to me, to fall in with the experiences of the people of God; and the longer I attempt to unfold the sublime truths of inspiration, the deeper conviction I have, of the danger of discarding "a preparatory law-work," which Sandeman, through a fondness for ingenious drollery, calls a "long winded story of heart work," and of which some divines, of late, for whom I have a most exalted regard, seem to make too little.
SPECULATIONS ON MORAL AGENCY.
Question, 1. "Is speculative knowledge necessary to constitute a moral agent?
Answer. By no means. Moral agency does not consist in speculative knowledge; but in the motions of the heart, in inclination or volition. There may be such motions in a mind, a moral agent, which is incapable of speculations, at present, and where no external object is in view. All such motions of heart are moral agency. [See Edwards on freedom of will, Part iv. Sec. 1. West on moral agency, Part i. Sec. 4.]